NewsClick Row: HC to deliver order on Friday on plea by founder Prabir Purkayastha against arrest

The Delhi High Court will pronounce its order on Friday on the pleas by NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and the portal’s human resources department head Amit Chakravarty challenging their arrest in a case lodged under anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly receiving money to spread pro-China propaganda.

Justice Tushar Rao Gedela, who reserved his decision on Monday after hearing all parties to the case, will deliver the verdict.

Purkayastha and Chakravarty were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on October 3.

The duo had moved the high court last week challenging their arrest as well as the 7-day police custody, and sought immediate release as an interim relief.

On October 10, the trial court had sent them to judicial custody for ten days after their custodial interrogation by the city poice got over.

Police have sealed the NewsClick’s office in Delhi.

According to the FIR, a large amount of funds to the news portal came in from China to “disrupt the sovereignty of India” and cause disaffection against the country.

It also alleged Purkayastha conspired with a group — People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) — to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

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Purkayastha argued before the high court that the allegations against him was “false” and “bogus” and “not a penny has come from China”.

Purkayastha’s advocate Kapil Sibal asserted his arrest and remand in the present case cannot be sustained on several legal counts, including that the grounds of arrest were not supplied at the time of arrest and the remand order was passed by the trial court in a mechanical manner, in the absence of their lawyers.

Delhi Police defended their action before the high court saying that the case involves “serious offences” and that Rs 75 crore came from a person in China to ensure that the country’s stability and integrity is compromised.

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